So there was no LibDem surge in Feniton where Linda Baker, for Labour, proved Owl’s judgement fallible by coming second, pushing Todd Olive into third place! Worth pointing out that the Conservative win in Feniton would have been be very insecure if the opposition had coalesced around a single candidate.
But Owl was right in describing Jake Bonetta, Labour, in Honiton St Michael’s as an “impressive head on young shoulders” with his decisive win.
Owl believes he is the sort of young blood local government needs more of.
Pity that Feniton chose “Male, pale and stale” and that the turnout was so low.
Here is Devon Live on the result:
Joe Ives www.devonlive.com
Labour has won a seat on East Devon District Council for the first time in a generation after claiming a by-election victory in Honiton.
Cllr Jake Bonetta, 19, took the Honiton St Michael’s seat in Thursday’s by-election, becoming both the youngest representative on the council and the first from his party in more than 20 years to sit on the council, in what was a gain from the Liberal Democrats.
In Feniton, the Conservatives gained the seat, with Alasdair Bruce claiming victory in what was a gain from the Independents, with Susie Bond, who previously held the seat, having moved to Berkshire to be closer to family.
Speaking after his win, Cllr Bonetta said: “It’s an astounding victory for the community and I want to thank every single person who got involved in my campaign and entrusted me with their votes.
“I really will work for everyone, no matter how you voted. I think it’s so important that I’m there to represent every single person in Honiton St Michael’s.”
Cllr Jake Bonetta, Labour councillor for Honiton St Michael’s
He added: “I think that my young age is an asset. I think it brings new life to the council. I think it brings a new perspective and on top of that I think it’s so important that young people do get involved in politics.”
Cllr Bonetta, who replaces Liberal Democrat Luke Jeffrey who previously held the seat before resigning to focus on his university studies, is currently the youngest secretary for a constituency Labour Party in the country, and becomes the youngest councillor on East Devon.
Cllr Bruce, who was not present at the count, is a beekeeper, and was previously a Thanet councillor from 2007 to 2015.
Alasdair Bruce, Conservative councillor for Feniton
The make-up of the council is now Conservatives (22), East Devon Alliance (13), Independents (15), Liberal Democrats (7), Green Party (2) and Labour (1), with Cllr Bonetta expected to join the governing coalition the Democratic Alliance, currently made up of the East Devon Alliance, Liberal Democrats, Greens and some of the Independents.
Speaking after the election, Cllr Paul Arnott, leader of the council, said: “As leader of East Devon Council it is my absolute determination to work with successful candidates from all party backgrounds and I look forward to working with Alasdair for Feniton and Jake for Honiton. I’m sure they’ll both give eminent service.”
Conservative Jenny Brown, who missed out in Honiton St Michael’s said: “We worked hard. Jake was a worthy opponent and he’s got the town at heart as well – and so have I, and I’m going to be back!”
Labour’s Linda Baden, who lost in Feniton, stayed hopeful: “I think it shows we have a possibility of actually attracting many more votes to the Labour Party, which I think is really positive.”
Lib Dem candidate Todd Olive said: “Obviously my thanks, my gratitude to the 82 voters who put their trust in me to represent them at the district council.”
“Congratulations to Alasdair Bruce, the victor. I hope he serves the residents well, listens to their interests and acts on the urgent issues of our time.”
Alasdair Bruce (Conservatives) 239
Linda Baden (Labour) 126
Todd Olive (Liberal Democrats) 82
Turnout 21 per cent
HONITON ST MICHAEL’S
Jake Bonetta (Labour) 807
Jenny Brown (Conservatives) 522
Jules Hoyles (Liberal Democrats) 63
Turnout 25 per cent